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Sweat Lodge Tragedy: Spiritual Pathway to Peril

The Angel Valley Retreat Center in Sedona, Arizona, Oct. 13, 2009.
The Angel Valley Retreat Center in Sedona, Arizona, Oct. 13, 2009.(Ross D. Franklin | ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Published: Apr. 1, 2022 at 2:37 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - In the 2000s, James Arthur Ray rose to fame as a key figure in a self-help movement that mixed elements of spirituality, “harmonic wealth,” and eccentric activities. Powered by appearances in “The Secret” and on TV with Oprah Winfrey and Larry King, he amassed a fortune and built an empire off of his thousands of followers. Ray was on top of the world until a Sedona retreat took a tragic turn. He was leading a sweat lodge ceremony when followers became ill, ultimately leading to the deaths of three people.

True Crime Arizona’s Briana Whitney takes a look back at this story that gripped Arizona and the nation.